Wet Roads to Edinburgh

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02/03/08
What’s that? You’re wondering why I say Edinburgh? Well, Dunedin is Edinburgh in Gaelic as it turns out, so my journey today was really to get to Edinburgh, not just Dunedin. As you can see by the picture, I had yet another very soggy day on the bike. In fact, this was the very worst day that I endured to date on the bike. I had to endure very heavy rains, cold winds, and numb appendages. For a while, I was actually concerned that I might end up with hypothermia. As a self-check, I kept singing to myself and talking aloud, to make sure I wasn’t mumbling. Of course, I’m getting a little ahead of myself yet again, so why don’t I start my story of the day from the beginning once again for you all. In the meantime, check out the map that I put together, and the pictures along with it. My camera was literally floating in a pool of water within my jacket pocket between pictures. However, I went the extra step for you today. Enjoy.

I stayed up a little while the night before hanging out with some of the hostel folks, watching a bit of a movie as well as chatting with Tony the owner. He truly is a remarkable chap, having cycled all around the world. He had a number of photo albums lying around, and I enjoyed checking out all his pictures, particularly from his cycle trips into the Himalayas and Thailand in particular. He had a single speed bike for a lot of his tours, which was most impressive. He’s clearly an adventurous fellow, but has now been living in New Zealand for 12 years, having set up his hostel, and seemingly running it single-handedly. He even insists on doing the dishes by himself for everyone. Crazy.

Anyway, the rain was pounding on the roof above my head all night, and in the morning, didn’t seem to want to let up one bit. Once again, I slept in a little bit longer, in hopes that the rain would abate, but no such luck. I finally got up around 8:30, and had my breakfast while watching the rain come down in buckets. When it looked like it was finally slowing down a bit, I made a break for it. Of course, it was all for naught, as no sooner had I wheeled my trusty steed out the door did it pick back up right away. D’oh! The first 16km were on the main highway, and were fairly flat, so I made really great time. Then, it was time to turn off the main road back onto the scenic southern route.

Now, the wisdom of taking the scenic route on such a crappy weather day was questionable. It came into even greater question for me when a kilometer up the road I was faced with a formidable hill to climb. Seemingly straight up for 350m! As I was working my way up it, the weather seemed to intensify as well. I couldn’t help but be reminded of wicked coastal storms. I eventually realized why I had that feeling. After finally cresting the hill, and coming down the other side, I was greeted by the sight of a violent ocean on my right. I would follow the coastline for most of the remaining journey to Dunedin.

The one saving grace for the day was the fact that the winds were at my back, and were quite strong. While it was keeping me somewhat cold, it also was propelling me forward at fairly high average speeds. This was good, as I didn’t want to be out there one second longer than I had to be. When the chill was starting to get to be too much for me, I finally found a respite from the weather. A public washroom in Brighton, which had a door wide enough for me to get all my bike and trailer inside out of the rain. I took a nice break in here, taking the time to eat a bunch of food, and wringing out some of my clothes. A pointless exercise, but I did it anyway.

The rest of the ride was no better, and I became colder and colder. Luckily, I finally reached Dunedin, and all of its glorious hills. I wasted no time in locating the hostel and checked in to dry out. They were nice enough to let me take my bike and trailer into the building. Of course, it’s going to take a couple days just to dry out unfortunately. However, I’ve decided to stay for three nights here, and two full days, so it’ll have time to dry up a bit. I haven’t fully decided what I’ll do here yet, but the one certainty is that I’ll be heading to the Speights Brewery for a tour and tasting, you can be sure of that! I’ll probably also take a cool rail trip over gorges and viaducts that run from here. Finally, I’ll have to challenge Baldwin Street, the steepest road in the world according to Guinness.

That’s it that’s all for now folks. I’ve had my shower, put on dry warm clothes, and had a feast of Thai food to keep me going. However, it’s now time for snacks and beer, then a cozy night’s sleep in my corner room with a view of the city. Great accomodations for 21NZD! Talk to you all again soon peoples! Cheers.

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